Today the church remembers Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi, First Woman Priest in the Anglican Communion, 1944.Born in Hong Kong in 1907 and baptized as a student, Li Tim-Oi chose the name Florence in honor of Florence Nightingale (see August 12). In 1931 at the ordination of deacononesses, Florence Li Tim-Oi heard and responded a call to ordained ministry. After attending theological school, she was serving as a deacon in Macau when fighting intensified between Japan and China. There were no available priests to minister to Christians in the area, and so in 1944 the Bishop of Victoria ordained Florence as a priest. She served for the remainder of the war, but shortly after the war she voluntarily gave up her license to function as a priest. Among Anglicans her ordination was controversial, so she stepped down while the Communion was in discernment. She remained in China for many years, though she was forced to work in a factory during the years of the Cultural Revolution. Florence moved to Canada in her later years, and she served as a priest in Toronto. Finally, most Anglicans had come to support the ordination of women. She was awarded Doctorates of Divinity by the General Theological Seminary, New York, and Trinity College, Toronto. Florence Li Tim-Oi died in 1992. Give us strength and patience, Lord Christ, to follow in your way. Amen.
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Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much-beloved daughter, to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in our Communion; By the grace of your Spirit inspire us to follow her example, serving your people with patience and happiness all our days, and witnessing in every circumstance to our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.